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Friday 06th, August 2010
Christopher Lawrence Interview August 2010
Updated: Monday 09th, August 2010

Christopher Lawrence is known as America's leading trance DJ, touring the world with his unique brand of underground trance. Trance.nu caught up with him to see what he's been up to..

This month, Christopher Lawrence launched a new mix compilation series based on his popular radio show Rush Hour which specializes in underground trance, progressive, psy trance and techno from around the globe. Rush Hour airs on Digitally Imported's Trance station, plus on over 120 FM stations around the globe. It is also available as a monthly podcast on iTunes.

Over the past ten years, Christopher Lawrence has risen through the international dance music ranks to become one of the World's most acclaimed and popular DJs and producers. A regular headliner at the world's biggest festivals and superclubs, he has released a string of groundbreaking original productions and remixes for artist from U2 to Enrique Iglesias. In addition to producing Rush Hour radio, Christopher also runs his own label Pharmacy Music, considered one of the world's fastest rising trance labels.

Widely recognized as ‘America’s Top Trance DJ’, Christopher Lawrence holds a lengthy list of professional accolades including a recent win of DJ Times 'America's Best DJ' award, plus Dancestar USA and IDMA's 'Best DJ' Awards, along with consecutive top ten placements in the World's DJ polls, including DJ Mag’s ‘Top 100’.

What inspired you to launch a CD series based on your radio show Rush Hour?

After the success of the Rush Hour radio show and podcast it only seemed natural to start a CD series based on the show. The CDs will focus on the best tracks from the most recent shows as well as new unreleased music to make it more interesting than just a greatest hits CD.

Do you consider the style of trance you play to be different to others? If so, why?

My style of trance is unique. The style I play is very underground yet
accessible. I incorporate trance, techno progressive house and psy trance to create my sound own sound that works great on a dance floor and is also interesting to listen to in headphones or in a car.

I do not play the style of commercial trance that most so called trance DJs play. What most people think of as trance is just really a watered down version that is closer to pop music than proper trance. For this reason, when you look at at track listing from one of my sets you may not recognize a lot of the names because the music I am playing is underground and more cutting edge. I work hard sourcing music that is powerful and unique. I find a lot of Trance DJs just play the Beatport top 20 tracks which is lazy and not very inspiring. When someone comes to hear me play I want it to be a unique experience. I want them to go away feeling like they were a part of something special.

What constitutes good trance? And bad?

Good trance draws you in and takes you to another place. Good trance moves your body, engages your mind and touches your soul. Bad trance is based obvious melodies, cheesy lyrics, has no soul and leaves you feeling ashamed like a bad one night stand. It is entry level trance which makes it popular but people soon look for something more sophisticated and mature.

Describe your ideal night out if you were going out to party.

I would meet up with some good friends before hand for drinks. We'd get the party started before we leave for the venue so when we arrive we are already in good spirits. I prefer to be on the main dance floor instead of backstage. The music sounds better on the floor so that's where you will find me in my own little world once the party favors kick in. I am a terrible dancer but i love to shuffle to a good groove. At the end of the night my friends and I would all head back to someone's house to carry on and listen to more great tunes. That is where I hear the best music from friends that are not DJs but love to collect music. For me that is a great night.

How has your years of experience in the industry benefited you? What advice would you give to young DJs?

My years in the industry has taught me that the key to longevity is to develop your own sound and continually push that sound. People need to be able to trust you and count on you as the DJ to deliver each time you play. That is what will keep your fans loyal. If you spend your time chasing the flavor of the month you will wind up being unpredictable. All genres come in and out of style, just stick with it and when your sound rises again so will you.

How has the dance music industry changed since you started Djing?

The dance industry has changed a lot. One obvious change is that no one plays vinyl anymore. Everything is digital, from production to distribution to the way the music is played at the events whether it is on CD or a laptop.

Another big change is that people used to have more patience for a good DJ set. To use a cliché, a good DJ would take the audience on a journey, now people just are impatient and they just want to hear the hits. Because everyone has access to the same music, people have their favorite songs and when they go out that's what they want to hear instead of hearing a DJ play tracks they may have never heard before. The art of DJing is being replaced by DJs that are basically jukeboxes.

What role do you see online music stores such as Beatport playing in shaping dance music?

Online music stores such as Beatport, Trackitdown and Juno have played a major role in the development of dance music by making a wider variety of music immediately accessible to a global audience. Online distribution has opened the door for a greater number of producers to have their music made available to DJs as well as fans that are passionate about the music. I think it has definitely encouraged the growth of the EDC scene.

The flip side is that a lot of people do not explore the diversity of music being offered on these sights and often limit their searches to the top 100 charts which creates a claustrophobic environment in which the tracks purchased and played are very narrow. I would personally like to see the top 100 charts eliminated so that people have to think for themselves.

What qualities do you most admire in other DJs? Any DJs in particular?

The qualities I most admire in other DJs are integrity and consistency. Two DJs that exemplify these traits best are John 00 Fleming and John Digweed. Both of these DJs respect their audience and will never let you down.

How is your label Pharmacy Music doing?

Pharmacy is coming along very well. We have developed a good stable of artists that are producing top quality trance. It is like a family. Artists like Jonathan Allyn, Magnus and Sean J Morris are consistent producers. At Pharmacy it is quality over quantity.

I understand you are recording your third artist album. How is it progressing and are there any collaborations?

My new artist album is coming along well, slowly, but worth the effort. I have already done some collaborations with vocalists Stu Stone, Suzie DelVecchio, and Jen Lasher. I have also been teaming up with other producers to give the album some diversity. I hoping to finish it by the end of this year.

Any new singles coming up?

I have three new singles coming up which will be on the forthcoming album. One is a collaboration with Suzie DelVecchio called Little Rush, another is with Stu Stone and Dave Audé called Phake Wit Da Funk and the third is a brand new psy influenced track with Sean J Morris which will be out on Pharmacy Music.

You recently launched a new DJ side project 'Mr & Mrs Smith' with your wife Sara. What is it like to collaborate together?

Mr & Mrs Smith has turned out to be a great project for Sara and I. It is alot of fun going thru music and playing together. Sara has always had great taste in music and the tough electro sound we are playing together is a meeting of both our sounds. The gigs have been going great and people love the sound, the only problem is that now we sometimes fight over who gets to drop which tracks!

Are you still living in Australia? Any plans to move back to the USA?

After living in Melbourne for nearly three years I am moving back to Los Angeles. The travel between Australia and the rest of the world was killing me and I never had any time with my family so moving back to Los Angeles will make everything much easier. I will miss Australia but there is a reason they call it the land down under.

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